“How the Ocean Loved Margie” by Laurie J. Marks from So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction, (Lethe Press, 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.
I had absolutely no idea where this story was going right up to the very end, and that was thrilling. Actually, it ends on such an open note that I still can’t say that I know where it was going, but it was a really interesting ride.
This is the story of a woman named Margie, who rather dramatically ditches her staid and closeted life as a schoolteacher, goes to a sperm bank to get inseminated, and then sets out, pregnant, for parts unknown. Well, not entirely unknown. She goes to Maine, for reasons she cannot fathom. There’s nothing there that she particularly wants to see, no one she knows or can stay with when she arrives, yet she feels compelled to go there. And deep down she suspects her child is directing her course, telling her where it wants to be born.
Reaching Maine does nothing to pacify her. Right away she hires a local fisherman to take her out to an island that isn’t on any map, so remote and forlorn is it. She sets up a beachside camp Bear Grylls would find inhospitable, and days stretch into months.
Margie’s erratic behavior makes this a deeply unsettling tale. She seems mad, and therefore in grave danger, as is her child. I thought the cold faerie queen in the last tale was creepy, but this story’s delicate balance of realism and fantasy is even scarier. Running out of food, and with the weather growing colder, Margie becomes convinced that the Ocean is sentient, watching her, and also watching out for her. It seems she’s correct, but is she? Or has she completely lost it?